Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mansfield Park Revisited

Aiken, Joan. 1985/2005. Mansfield Park Revisited. Sourcebooks. 201 pages.

The sudden and unexpected death of Sir Thomas Bertram, while abroad engaged on business relating to his various properties in the West Indies, could be a cause of nothing but sorrow, dismay, and consternation to the baronet's friends in England.

I just LOVED this book. It was delightful and charming. But more importantly it is redemptive. With Fanny and Edmund out of the picture--for the most part--the narrative has a chance to focus in on other characters. Susan, Fanny's younger sister, and Tom, Edmund's brother, for example. But it also returns to us the brother-sister villains, Henry and Mary Crawford. (She's come back--and is actually renting a cottage from the Bertrams--but there's a catch: she's dying.) New characters are also introduced--the lovely Mrs. Osborne and her brother, the Reverend Francis Wadham. (He will be taking Edmund's place in the parish temporarily.) The book is full of characters you come to love...and those you love to hate.

Appearances can be deceiving, and such is the case here. All isn't as it first appeared, for example, in Mansfield Park. I have never been a fan of Mansfield Park, but I am a BIG FAN of this sequel. If you're like me, you might want to give this one a try. You might just find yourself surprised!

Like most Austen novels, this one has to do with love and matchmaking. And so much more.

I'm sorry I can't really describe it very well. But it is one of those where sharing a few details might spoil it. It is best to read for yourself and see where the story goes.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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Unknown 3:19 PM  

I'm intrigued! I wasn't a big fan of Mansfield Park, either, so perhaps I would be like you and would enjoy this sequel (even though I don't usually like sequels like these...). Thanks for the review!

Unknown 4:22 PM  

As a Jane Austen fan, we are told to STAY away from Joan Aiken. She even wrote a version of Emma that made Emma a lesbian... hmmmm... no, you don't mess with literature that way!

Becky 4:38 PM  

No weird twists like that, I promise! I wouldn't do that to my readers! Nothing weird or skanky going on with beloved characters :)

Becky 4:39 PM  

I'll clarify that, I don't like Austen-sequels that are all about sex. Graphic sex here, there, and everywhere. I like my Austen-sequels to be classy. And this one was very classy.

Anonymous,  4:43 PM  

Laura - I don't think that was Joan Aiken - and I'm no fan of her "Lady Catherine's Necklace"! - but I have read "Jane Fairfax", which is the companion volume to "Emma", and I didn't notice anything untoward...it must have been very subtle if I missed it - twice. L.

Laurel Ann (Austenprose) 4:16 AM  

Laura - I think that you are thinking of another author in regard to Emma having lesbian tendencies. Emma Tennant wrote Emma in Love (1996) which I have not read, but other reviews indicate the implication.

Joan Aiken is a fine writer. Please give her a try.

Anonymous,  6:50 AM  

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Zibilee 1:47 PM  

I haven't made my way through all of Austin yet, but I am collecting the titles of a few books that are based on her work to read when I finish. This sounds like something that needs to go on the list. Thanks for posting this!

Gwendolyn B. 8:20 AM  

I had forgotten all about Joan Aiken (shame on me!). Thanks for bringing her back onto my radar. I'm re-reading the Austen books this year and have been looking for Austen-related books to read along side them. This sounds like just the thing!

Jill 2:13 PM  

I loved this one, too, Becky. I read it immediately after rereading Mansfield Park and thought it was remarkably consistent and true to the spirit of the original. I'm glad you enjoyed it too!

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